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13 Must-Have Items for Your Lake Camping Kit

13 Must-Have Items for Your Lake Camping Kit

Spending a weekend away at the lake is a perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re planning a camping trip or just looking for a day of fun in the sun, there are some items you’ll want to include in your lake camping kit. From sunscreen and swimsuits to life jackets and quick-dry towels, here are 13 must-have items for your lake camping kit. Always remember to bring along plenty of food and drinks, as well as something to keep you entertained, such as books, magazines, or games.

1. Good Quality Tent

Having a good quality tent is essential for any camping trip. Not only does it provide shelter from bad weather, but it also can provide protection from wind and even some privacy. A good quality tent should also be lightweight and easy to set up. One of the best options on the market is the Coleman Sundome Camping Tent. This tent is designed to be lightweight yet durable and is perfect for 3-season camping. The full-coverage rainfly ensures that your gear and you stay dry no matter the weather. It also features a front door vestibule which can provide shade from the sun or extra storage for your gear. The Coleman Sundome is large enough to comfortably fit four campers and is available in a variety of sizes.

Coleman 4-Person Dome Tent for Camping | Sundome Tent with Easy Setup , Navy/Grey
  • Weatherproof: Welded corners and inverted seams keep water from getting in; Included rainfly offers extra weather protection
  • Wind and rain tested: Strong frame withstands 35 plus mph winds
  • Great ventilation: Large windows and ground vent for enhanced airflow
  • Stay connected: E-port makes it easy to bring electrical power inside
  • Easy setup: In 10 minutes

2. Comfortable Sleeping bags

Having a comfortable sleeping bag is an essential part of camping. After a long day of hiking or exploring, you need to get a good night’s sleep to be refreshed and energized for the next day. In order to stay comfortable, you need a sleeping bag that keeps you warm in all weather conditions and wards off the cold night air. The Coolzon Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag is an excellent option for those who camp in warmer climates. This sleeping bag is moisture-wicking, so it won’t trap in excess heat and make you overheat. It is also lightweight, making it ideal for backpacking or other types of lightweight camping. With its comfortable design, this sleeping bag will provide you with a cozy night’s sleep, no matter your climate.

Coolzon Lightweight Backpacking Sleeping Bag for Adults Boys and Girls, Cold Weather Kids Sleeping Bag for All Season Hiking & Camping
  • CONVENIENT STORAGE-Each sleeping bag is equipped with a compression bag with straps. Our compression bag has the biggest advantage of its large capacity, which makes it easy to store and carry. It can be packed into an ultra-compact bag in a few seconds without folding or Rolling, saving you more time
  • ROOMY AND COMFORTABLE – They are incredibly roomy for any adult or child. It’s easy to get in, get out and turn around to find a comfortable sleeping position. The zipper stays closed, and the plush filling means you’ll sleep like a baby.The conventional size is more suitable for teenagers, and the larger size is suitable for adults.
  • WATERPROOF, BREATHABLE AND WARM-We found the best balance between waterproof, breathable and warmth to make you more comfortable when using.

3. Sleeping mats

Having a good-quality sleeping mat is essential for an enjoyable camping experience. Uneven surfaces and cold temperatures can lead to disturbed sleep, making it difficult to get the rest you need. The Hikenture Ultralight Sleeping Mat is an excellent choice, as it’s lightweight, easy to carry and inflate, and provides cushioning and insulation. Choosing a sleeping pad also depends on the type of camping, as well as your body size and budget.

The MEETPEAK Camping Sleeping Pad is a great option for all types of camping. It offers full four inches of cushion, is covered in a knitted polyester fabric for extra comfort, and is suitable for cold and wet seasons. It’s also lightweight and portable, making it easy to carry and pack. All in all, investing in a good quality sleeping pad is essential to ensure an enjoyable camping experience. The MEETPEAK Camping Sleeping Pad is the perfect option for all types of camping and is sure to provide you with a great night’s sleep.

MEETPEAK Sleeping Pad, Extra Thickness 4 Inch Inflatable Camping Sleeping Mat with Pillow Built-in Foot Press, Compact Ultralight Camping Air Mattress for Backpacking, Hiking, Tent
  • 【Extra Wide & 3.2 – 4″ Thick Sleep Support with Pillow】- Our creative V shape design with pillow is made special with body mapping technology. The V shape air cells ergonomically support all of your pressure points, no matter lying flat or on side, 3.2 – 4 inch thickness & 27.6 inch width keep you body away from the ground and insulating the coldness, ensuring maximum comfort and warm for your sleep all night long. Let’s enjoy a good sleep with pillow when outside!
  • 【Only 30s Stomp to Inflate & 1s Deflate】- 2021 upgraded foot press sleeping pad, NO MORE inflating by your mouth, hands or carry a pump, just simply stomp on intake device at the bottom of the sleeping pad for only 30 seconds to inflate. Look, prefect camping mat, start your adventure. The newest single-layer air release valve design, just open the deflation plug, only need 1sec achieve super quick to deflate.

4. Portable Camping chairs

Having a good quality portable camping chair when you are camping is essential, as it can make the difference between a comfortable and enjoyable experience and an uncomfortable and miserable one. Not only do you want something comfortable, but you also want something lightweight and easy to transport. The GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Portable Rocking Chair is the perfect option for campers, as it has an innovative piston design that delivers a relaxing rocking motion but is still able to fold up for easy portability. It also features an easy-to-carry handle for easy transport and a foldable side table to hold your beverages and phone. Additionally, it is weather-safe and rated for outdoor use, making it an excellent choice for camping.

GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Portable Rocking Chair & Outdoor Camping Chair, Black
  • GCI Outdoor Freestyle Rocker Portable Folding Rocking Chair
  • Outdoor Rocking Chair: Portable folding chair quickly and easily folds flat for simple storage and transportation
  • Sturdy powder-coated steel frame supports up to 250 pounds includes padded arm rests and built-in beverage holder

5. A Coolers

Having a good quality cooler is essential for anyone who loves to camp and spend time outdoors. A cooler with plenty of ice helps to keep food and drinks from spoiling in the heat and can make them even more enjoyable when served chilled. Various cooler options are available, from hard-sided coolers to backpacks and electric coolers. Roto-molded coolers like the Coleman 316 Series Insulated Portable Cooler are the best option. Roto-molded coolers feature one continuous thick wall that provides excellent ice retention, allowing you to use less ice and keep the contents cool for days. The Coleman 316 Series Insulated Portable Cooler has extra thick insulation and a heavy-duty latch closure that helps keep the cold air in. It has a leak-proof drain plug and a hinged lid with an integrated ruler to help you measure fish and game. This durable and reliable cooler is perfect for those who enjoy camping and spending time outdoors.

Coleman Ice Chest | Coleman 316 Series Hard Coolers, 70qt Rock Grey
  • FULLY INSULATED: Lid and body Keeps the Ice up to 5 days in temperatures as high as 90°F
  • SWING-UP HANDLES: For easy carrying and lifting
  • HIGH CAPACITY: Holds up to 100 cans
  • HAVE-A-SEAT LID: Closed lid supports up to 250 lb.
  • CUP HOLDERS: Molded into the lid to keep drinks close and prevent spilling; fit up to 30 oz. tumbler

6. Portable stove

A good quality portable stove is essential for any camper or outdoor enthusiast. A reliable and efficient stove can differentiate between a successful campfire meal and a total disaster. Gas One GS-1000 Portable Butane Gas Stove is the perfect option for camping due to its lightweight and portable design and single-burner 7,650 BTU output. Additionally, this stove is powered by butane, which is much cheaper than propane, and has a simmer-control feature to make warm-weather camping easier. The stove is also designed with a press-button ignition system, so you don’t even need to strike a match. Furthermore, this stove is incredibly compact, lightweight, and durable, making it an easy choice for anyone looking for an easy-to-pack stove for their next outdoor adventure. With all these features, the Gas ONE GS-1000 Butane Gas Stove is the perfect stove for any camping enthusiast.

GasOne GS-1000 7,650 BTU Portable Butane Gas Stove Automatic Ignition with Carrying Case, CSA Listed
  • High Output – Most Fuel Efficient Butane Portable Stove On The Market – Boils Water quickly with 7,650 BTU Evenly Compared To Compeititors Portable Stoves/ To Be used with 8oz Butane Canister Only (Fuel Sold Separately)
  • Safety Features – Highest Safety Standard: CSA (US & Canadian Standards Association) Approved Portable, Easy To Use, Reliable For Camping, Outdoor Cooking, Home Emergency Kit, Etc. Equipped with Fuel Cartridge Injection safety feature, If the stove defects 0.7 kilogram force from canister, It will automatically ejects butane canister from the stove
  • Automatic Starter – Piezo-Type Electric Starter With Safety Shut-Off System; No Matches Or Lighters Required

7. Portable lantern or flashlight

A portable lantern or flashlight is essential for lake camping since it provides light for various activities. It can quickly locate items in a tent or provide visibility when heading to the latrine in the middle of the night. A collapsible solar lantern is an even better option since it is lightweight, charges in the sun while you hike, and can be hooked to the outside of your backpack. It also provides a much wider light area than a campfire, which can only illuminate a six-foot radius. Additionally, headlamps are a great hands-free option that is invaluable for campers.

Vont 2 Pack LED Camping Lantern, Super Bright Portable Survival Lanterns,…
  • BRIGHT & LASTING – Equipped with 30 crazy bright LEDs, this compact lantern cuts through 360 degrees of darkness on the stormiest, dimmest nights. Easily lights up the entire tent or room.
  • COMPACT & LIGHTWEIGHT – Collapsible design that reduces or increases the light as you collapse or expand the lantern. When collapsed it’s as small as your phone. Your new camping lantern easily fits in your backpack or emergency kit.
  • WATERPROOF – Constructed with military grade materials, your lantern is able to survive a 10-foot drop and being temporarily submerged under water.

8. Emergency kit

An emergency first aid kit is essential whenever you go camping, as it can help you treat minor injuries and illnesses quickly and efficiently. A good emergency kit should include bandages in various sizes, gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, hydrocortisone cream, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, cold packs, a thermometer, and other items. The Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit is the perfect option for a camping emergency kit as it is comprehensive and contains all of the necessary items you need for a safe and enjoyable trip. It is also durable, waterproof, and lightweight, making it easy to carry around and providing peace of mind. The kit also comes with an illustrated guide, which is perfect for learning basic first-aid techniques for the backcountry.

Swiss Safe 2-in-1 First Aid Kit (120 Piece) + Bonus 32-Piece Mini First Aid Kit: Compact, Lightweight for Emergencies at Home, Outdoors, Car, Camping, Workplace, Hiking & Survival
  • New & Upgraded For 2021: 2-In-1 Premium First Aid Emergency Kit With 120 Medical Grade Items
  • Fully Stocked: Organized Interior Compartments Provides Quick Access. Rugged, Sturdy, High Density
  • Includes Mini-First Aid Kit: Amazingly Small, Lightweight Mini Kit With Additional 32 Medical Items

9. Sunscreen

Having sunscreen is essential in lake camping because it protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It is essential to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is not only water-resistant but also eco-friendly so as not to harm the environment. Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen is the best option for this, as it offers SPF 50 protection and is water-resistant, oil-free, and reef safe. It is designed specifically for athletes, so it will stay put while you’re swimming, boating, or playing in the sun. Additionally, it is hypoallergenic and has no added fragrance, so it won’t irritate sensitive skin. It also provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.

Neutrogena Sport Face Sunscreen SPF 70+, Oil-Free Facial Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Sun Protection, Sweat-Resistant & Water-Resistant, 2.5 fl. oz
  • 2.5-fluid ounce of Neutrogena Sport Face Oil-Free Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 70+ provides superior sun protection against aging UVA and burning UVB rays to prevent sunburn
  • Ideal for outdoor sport activity, this facial sunscreen resists wear off from water, rubbing, sweating or wiping, and is designed to be sweat-resistant and water-resistant

10. Insect repellent

Insect repellent is an essential item for lake camping, as the close proximity to nature and wildlife can result in unwelcome visitors. Mosquitoes, in particular, can ruin a camping trip if left unchecked. Repel 100 Insect Repellent is an excellent choice for lake campers, as it contains DEET, which is proven to be one of the most effective and longest-lasting insect repellents on the market. Repel 100 Insect Repellent is water resistant and provides up to 10 hours of protection, so campers can stay safe and comfortable even through extended outings. Its formula is also free of oils, so it won’t damage clothing or other items. With Repel 100 Insect Repellent, lake campers can enjoy a bug-free experience and make the most of their time in the great outdoors.

Repel 100 Insect Repellent, Pump Spray, 4-Fluid Ounces, 10-Hour Protection
  • REPELS: Create a barrier against mosquitoes, including those that may transmit the Zika, West Nile, Dengue and Chikungunya viruses, ticks, gnats, biting flies, chiggers and fleas.
  • FORMULATED FOR SEVERE INSECT CONDITIONS: Contains 98.11% DEET for protection in heavily infested conditions.
  • PROTECTS FOR UP TO 10 HOURS: Enjoy the outdoors without the bite – provides long-lasting protection, so you don’t have to limit your adventure because of bugs.

11. Trash bags

When lake camping, it is essential to bring trash bags to contain the waste that accumulates throughout your stay. Reusable bags such as Bumkins wet bags are a great way to cut down on single-use plastic and are easily washable. For those that must use disposable items, paper products are a better option than plastic as they do not contain the same toxins. One of the best trash can is the Coghlan’s Pop-Up Trash Can, which is easily collapsible and stands upright on its own when lined with a trash bag.

Coghlan’s Pop-Up Bins, Collapsible Trash and Recycling Bins for Camping
  • Made of heavy duty, tear resistant polyethylene fabric
  • Great for camping, RV’s or seasonal storage
  • Spring steel container pops up and holds its shape
  • Zippered lid keeps contents in and pests out
  • Storage pocket on lid

12. Personal hygiene items

When camping at the lake, it’s important to bring essential personal hygiene items to stay clean and comfortable. These items include hand soap, bath towels, and washcloths, hand and body lotion, body soap, shampoo, and conditioner, a hairbrush, toothbrush and toothpaste, cotton swabs, toilet paper, glasses and/or contacts and lens wipe and/or contact solution, a handheld mirror, makeup and skincare items, tissues, dental floss, a razor and shaving cream, a water-safe shower bag, menstrual products, deodorant, baby wipes, a portable shower and toilet (if applicable), nature-safe sun cream, insect repellent, ointment for bug bites, lip balm with SPF, and a hair dryer. Also, bring a packable day bag and a toiletry bag with a hook, so you can access them quickly while using the comfort station.

Plastic free items for personal hygiene

13. Clothing suitable for the weather

For camping in lakes, the most suitable clothing includes base layers for optimal warmth, such as a t-shirt, long sleeves and pants, a jacket, hoodie or sweater, and pajamas. Wool socks will help keep feet dry and warm, and a raincoat and rain boots are essential for protection against unexpected rain. A wide-brimmed sunhat or visor, a beanie or knit cap, gloves, and sunglasses will help protect against the sun and wind. Running shoes, hiking shoes, water shoes, flip flops, and a swimsuit and goggles are also recommended for lake activities. For colder temperatures, warm clothes such as a sweater and a light jacket are a must. Layering is also crucial for colder temperatures, so bring multiple pieces of clothing that can be added and removed.

Caucasian man frying eggs on burner at camping


How do I choose the right tent for lake camping?

Choosing the right tent for lake camping is an important decision that can make or break your trip. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you choose the perfect tent for your lake camping adventure.

Consider the number of people who will be sleeping in the tent. Opt for a three-person tent for two people, which provides more space and comfort.

Look for tents with good ventilation, like 3-season tents designed for warm nights.

Ensure the tent has a full rainfly covering the entire body and a roomy vestibule for storing gear.

Consider the weight of the tent and the accessories. If you don’t need to be overly concerned about weight, go with a slightly larger tent.

Look for other features that may be helpful such as a tent footprint, a sleeping pad, a trail quilt, a hammock and straps, a portable hammock stand, a sleeping bag liner, a pillow, rope, extra stakes, a tarp, and carabiners.

Finally, consider an instant screen house or another emergency shelter just in case of inclement weather.

What kind of sleeping bag should I bring for lake camping?

If you’re planning to go lake camping, you’ll need a suitable sleeping bag to keep you warm and comfortable. When it comes to sleeping bags, you have several options. For example, modern sleeping bags are designed to be incredibly efficient when it comes to keeping you warm. On hot summer nights, you might want a bag rated between 20 and 40 degrees, such as the Marmot Ouray Sleeping Bag, which is lightweight and filled with down for maximum warmth and comfort. If you’re looking for something more affordable, you could consider two closed-cell foam pads, although these will be bulkier and slightly less comfortable. Whatever sleeping bag you choose, make sure it’s rated for the temperature of the area you’ll be camping in and that it’s comfortable enough to give you a good night’s sleep.

How do I keep my food and drinks cold while camping at the lake?

If camping at the lake, you should consider bringing a cooler with plenty of ice to keep your food and drinks cold. The RTIC Soft Cooler is an excellent option because it is leak-proof, easy to transport, and can even float in the water. You can also pre-chill your food and drinks a day or two ahead of time. Be sure to pack delicious cookable food, trail mix, and your favorite drinks and snacks. Don’t forget the all-essential s’mores supplies! You’ll have a great time camping at the lake with the right gear and planning.

Is it necessary to bring a first aid kit for lake camping?

Yes, it is necessary to bring a first aid kit for lake camping. Accidents are more likely to occur outdoors and away from proper medical care, so it is crucial to be prepared in an emergency. A first aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic, tweezers, safety pins, painkillers, and insect repellents for various injuries and illnesses. Additionally, prepackaged first aid kits from outlets like REI include coagulation medicines, antiseptic ointments, and anti-inflammatory pills that can help to treat more severe injuries. Furthermore, if camping in an RV, it is crucial to bring an extra fire extinguisher and more intensive items like splints, saline solution, and thermometers. Therefore, it is essential to have a well-stocked first aid kit on any camping trip.

What type of lighting should I bring for lake camping?

You must be prepared for night’s darkness when camping near a lake. The best type of lighting is a combination of lanterns, headlamps, and battery-powered lights. A great example is the BioLite Alpenglow 500 Lantern, which has a variety of light settings, including a warm light and candle flicker, and is rechargeable. For a fun atmosphere, bring along the Luminoodle LED Light Rope for Camping, a waterproof and USB-powered string of lights. For a more practical, multi-use option, invest in some solar stake lights, which are lightweight and weather-safe. With these lighting solutions, you can ensure your lake camping experience is safe and enjoyable.